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'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-23-2006, 10:38 AM   #1
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'Worry-Free' Housing

I see there is already a topic on Relocation. This piece called Worry-Free Housing that we recently wrote and researched could run tandem to that same discussion.

I realize some people don't like the 'cookie cutter' approach to Retirement Living. I don't believe some of these communities would fit that description, and I imagine it's how one views what retirement living means to them, and what they want out of their retirement time.

Also many mentioned how hard it was to leave familiar surroundings and friendships that were decades old.

However, for those who want value for money spent, a strong sense of community, safety and measurable savings in several categories, I believe it's worth your time to take a look at an alternative below:

It's the best of both worlds.

We are able to live a footloose life with comfort and ease, and without breaking the bank. Over the years, many people have asked us how it is that we can maintain a home and still manage to travel as extensively as we do.


Worry-Free Housing http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/a_a_communities.htm

Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-23-2006, 01:38 PM   #2
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Thanks for sharing your housing situation, Akaisha! It really is something to consider. I especially like the idea of low-maintenance living which frees up time and energy as well as money, so one can really enjoy living and travel!

You two are so inspiring!
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-23-2006, 01:38 PM   #3
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Thanks, Akaisha.

I have often wondered what "park-model" living meant. The costs look astoundingly low.

Filed for future reference.

Cheers!

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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-23-2006, 04:15 PM   #4
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Cut Throat:
Quote:
This puts an 'upscale' spin on my 'Trout Bum in a Trailer park - Down by the river' fallback Plan! I could probably still afford to drink wine!
We have mentioned many times that our location here in the States is one of our most affordable ones. We have such great amenities and it costs us no more to enjoy them fully, as they are all included in our Lifestyle Fees.

We have posted our $24K annual net spending in Priceless Retirement:
http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/..._article_6.htm

but we find that when we simply 'hang out at home' instead of traveling around the globe, our net annual spending is often even less! 8) I know many don't believe us, which is why we wrote this piece.

Barbara Anne
Quote:
Thanks for sharing your housing situation, Akaisha! It really is something to consider. I especially like the idea of low-maintenance living which frees up time and energy as well as money, so one can really enjoy living and travel! You two are so inspiring!
You're welcome, and thanks to you as well. When we had our traditional home, Billy liked to cut the grass… the first time. After three hours of working on his day off, he said," this is too much like work and I have better uses for my time." He’s very efficient, and decided that he did not want to fill his free time with redundant chores. So we hired a gardener. This can be said for painting, maintenance and repairs.

I realize that many enjoy this sort of 'tinkering'. Billy's and my own Father were both like this. My Dad was always adding on a room or two, putting in new lighting, or fixing the plumbing. And my Mother loved to decorate. But neither of us go around looking for projects inside our house to keep busy. We eat fresh every day, and that in itself keeps us busy, food shopping, chopping and preparing. I am an artist in my down time, and hours can disappear at my art table.

Plus we like the ability to simply up and go when we want, without a lot of ongoing maintenance projects to keep us tied here.

Ed:
Quote:
Thanks, Akaisha. I have often wondered what "park-model" living meant. The costs look astoundingly low. Filed for future reference.
The costs are amazingly low. People in our community are absolutely giddy with the feeling of being 'rich' and having so much available to them. It's easy going, social and safe.

Thanks everyone, for taking the time to view.

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-23-2006, 09:12 PM   #5
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Billy/Akaisha,

Happy Thanksgiving! and thanks for your article - very interesting - my mother lives in a mobile home community, but it can be a bit more upscale as you show - that's great! Yes, even accounting for the inflation of the lease and 'lifestyle fee' (I'm guessing that's the HOA-like fee for the community which covers the common areas, etc), with the house bought, it is probably a heck of a lot cheaper than property tax. Again, thanks for sharing.

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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 02:58 AM   #6
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

I've always wondered if BOTH members of a couple have to be over 55 to be part of one of these communities? Anybody know?

Many thanks for the info, either way -- I printed and shared with SO -- we've added this to the list of options we're examining.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 07:20 AM   #7
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

I have a friend whose parents bought a house trailer near Daytona Beach a few years back. I think they paid a whopping $3,000 for it. It was an older 70's model, but was in pretty good shape except for some floor rot. It was a 2 bedroom/1 bath model with a family room addition on one side, and an oversized carport on the other that could cover two cars.

It's in an over 55 community, but there was some kind of arrangement where they'd rent out something like 15% of the lots to people under 55. We stayed down there for a week about a year and a half ago, and it was a nice quiet community. The lots were pretty large, too. The trailers weren't right up against each other. Most of them were pretty well kept up, too.

I think the lot rent is something like $300 per month. It seemed like a laid-back, easygoing type of lifestyle that I could see myself getting accustomed to. The only problem is, I had to learn to duck when going in and out of it. I'm tall enough that I was able to hit my head on the top of the door frame!

When I was a kid I thought house trailers were cool, because I thought that being in one felt like you were camping even when you were at home! And for that reason, I still kinda like them, regardless of the negative images they might stir up.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 08:22 AM   #8
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Deserat (Bridget)
Quote:
my mother lives in a mobile home community, but it can be a bit more upscale as you show - that's great! Yes, even accounting for the inflation of the lease and 'lifestyle fee' (I'm guessing that's the HOA-like fee for the community which covers the common areas, etc), with the house bought, it is probably a heck of a lot cheaper than property tax. Again, thanks for sharing.
Hi Deserat/Bridget!
Yes, many of these places are quite upscale! I like to emphasize that they are like a country club atmosphere, without the pressure of hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in a home.

RE: the inflation of lease/lifestyle fees (ours is one and the same) it has only gone up a couple of hundred dollars total in the decade and a half that we have lived here. This amount includes water, garbage and sewer, and all common area ground maintenance - and of course, our access to all the amenities.

Caroline:
Quote:
I've always wondered if BOTH members of a couple have to be over 55 to be part of one of these communities? Anybody know?
When we arrived here, this community was not age restricted. We were 39, I believe. And... at the time there was some law that these places had to allow so many sites for those who were younger than 55 so it would not be considered age discrimination.

We got in.... and finally were grandfathered in. We still 'don't qualify' as we are 'only' 54, but we have been here since the early 1990's.

Also, only one person needs to be 55 in the age qualified communities. I have also heard of couples who were younger offering services to the park in order to bend the rules - like teaching tennis, giving lapidary lessons, or teaching line dancing, etc. If you make yourself valuable... it's easier.

Quote:
Many thanks for the info, either way -- I printed and shared with SO -- we've added this to the list of options we're examining.
That’s great to know, Caroline. It’s an option worth considering. If the ‘average’ house in the US is $250k+ imagine not having to put that amount into housing and being able to invest it, or utilize it in other areas of your budget. Opening yourself up to a different housing option simply opens up your retirement life as well. Glad to have helped!

Andre1969
Quote:
I think they paid a whopping $3,000 for it.
Exactly, Andre. There are deals like this everywhere. Most places (unless you buy brand spanking new) come furnished, and I mean with pots, pans, silverware, bedding, even cleaning supplies. I have a girlfriend who wigs herself out about that (eeuuuwww! The couch is too blue! I don’t want somebody else’s couch…) So oh-kaay… buy a place completely furnished, and dump the couch… am I missing something here? :

Quote:
It's in an over 55 community, but there was some kind of arrangement where they'd rent out something like 15% of the lots to people under 55.
Yes, this is my understanding of how these places work around the ‘age discrimination’ label. If you can be one of those 15%…. It’s a great advantage. We just happened into that situation all those years ago.

Quote:
I think the lot rent is something like $300 per month. It seemed like a laid-back, easygoing type of lifestyle that I could see myself getting accustomed to.
That’s about right. $300 mo. Is $3,600 year -- about what we pay as well. Includes everything and we don’t have that same amount again in a property tax payment. 8) We use that 'savings' to travel the world and rent in other locations.

Works for us!

Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 08:48 AM   #9
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
I've always wondered if BOTH members of a couple have to be over 55 to be part of one of these communities? Anybody know?

Many thanks for the info, either way -- I printed and shared with SO -- we've added this to the list of options we're examining.
Most of the communities I have read about only require one of you to be over 55. However, I have heard of situations where the older person dies and the one less than age 55 is forced to sell. I don't know how common this is.

It is OK for these communities to age discriminate in favor of those over 55, unless a state law prohibits it.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 01:10 PM   #10
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Billy,

Whats the name of the park your in. I will check it out next time I go there. I believe you said it was in Mesa. Is that correct?
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 03:01 PM   #11
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Modhatter,

I know we're close friends, but I feel a bit uncomfortable letting you know where my DW is living when I go off to Mexico for a month by myself like I just did... Know what I mean, Bud? 8)

That being said, at first glance, there are 80+ parks and communities in the phone book here in Mesa alone to choose from.

Take a look at our Resource Page for Active Adults Retirement Living http://retireearlylifestyle.com/a_a_...ities_list.htm
and click on Cal-Am, Del-Webb communities, Equity Lifestyle Properties, Roberts Resorts, Sun City west or Tower Point for starters for places in the area.

This will give you a real view of how we live.

Hope this helps.
Regards,
Billy
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 03:21 PM   #12
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Billy,

Good answer. You didn't fall off no turnip truck.

Actually, your answer was a much better one. Any purchase you folks made 16 years ago or more has nothing to do with what is available today. Thank you for the good pointers!

I don't hit your web site as fast as you guys update it, so when you post something here, I go back and take another look. (The hit frequency increases so's you gets another nickel! Is this a great country or what!)

I have very much enjoyed your web site over the years as well as your posts here and on raddr's board and the articles in the magazines and your e-book. We are glad for your success.

Cheers,

Ed

[edited kauz riter kant spel. :P ]
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 06:34 PM   #13
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy

Take a look at our Resource Page for Active Adults Retirement Living http://retireearlylifestyle.com/a_a_...ities_list.htm


Hope this helps.
Regards,
Billy
Everything on this link is not economical. The first link I clicked on is shown below. Not a bad way to live tho.

http://www.mountvintage.com/real_estate.htm
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-24-2006, 06:55 PM   #14
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

This information is a true public service. IMHO there is simply no better insurance that owning a safe and low cost/maintenance home so that you can avoid being a mortgage slave. My oldest son recently graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Education is just starting out as a high school teacher. Teachers salaries are modest, but their work is essential. I have wanted to help him buy him a place of his own. I just might pick up a manufactured home in a nice development or lot for him. He can ascend the housing ladder, and this is a cost effective way for me as a parent to get him started. 8)
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-25-2006, 02:17 AM   #15
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Quote:
Everything on this link is not economical. ...
My stars and little comets! Out of my league by about 1.5 orders of magnitude!

Back to Mexico I gotta go!
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-25-2006, 01:38 PM   #16
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

My inlaws retired to Florida in the 1970s to a new mobile home community. Many who first moved there took a good portion of their savings, often from the sale of their home, and bought a new doublewide. Often people were left living primarily on their social security. This seemed to work ok for the most part. But, a number of people had problems making ends meet when one of the spouses died. Suddenly there wasn't as much money coming in. Also, lot rent steadily increased over the years. Residents were always complaining about how much it cost to rent their lot.

My MIL loved the place. She made many friends and went on many community outings. I always liked visiting and walking around the park looking to see how people managed to make their home look unique in a sea of sameness.

After my FIL died we sold his place contents and all for about $8000. If you buy new, remember manufactured homes depreciate.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-25-2006, 03:21 PM   #17
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Ed:
Quote:
Good answer. You didn't fall off no turnip truck.
Yup, Billy’s my hero! I appreciate it when he rides in on his white horse and helps me out… 8) (nothing against you Modhatter!)

Quote:
I have very much enjoyed your web site over the years as well as your posts here and on raddr's board and the articles in the magazines and your e-book. We are glad for your success.
Thanks Ed, we do appreciate it.

LEX
Quote:
This information is a true public service. IMHO there is simply no better insurance that owning a safe and low cost/maintenance home so that you can avoid being a mortgage slave.
Thanks, LEX. I thought the info could offer some alternatives to people, especially if it was all in one place to start with. We agree, keeping housing expenses down is vital to increasing quality of retirement life.

Quote:
I just might pick up a manufactured home in a nice development or lot for him. He can ascend the housing ladder, and this is a cost effective way for me as a parent to get him started.
What a great idea!

Quote:
Everything on this link is not economical. ...
No, it’s not. I wanted to give a contrast. There are those who think these places are for people ‘forced by economics’ or for ‘white trash’ or something comparable. That’s the ‘old’ way of thinking, IMO. OTOH, there are those more private country club style homes that are million dollar plus which are too expensive for my retirement style. They simply run the gamut. -- which was my point -- find something you like and in the price range you can afford.

Martha:
Quote:
After my FIL died we sold his place contents and all for about $8000. If you buy new, remember manufactured homes depreciate.
I do think it depends on where the place is located. My folks had a double wide in California they bought for about $40,000. When they died a decade later, we sold it (minus most contents as we had an estate sale) for $87,000.

That having been said, for the most part we consider this approach to be ‘throw away housing.’ If you spend $3,000 - $30,000 for a model, live in it for a dozen years or so, then sell it, whatever you make is simply gravy.

These just don’t take the upkeep that other types of housing require. And when we’re not spending to replace annuals, having to pay for trees to be trimmed, and repairing the lawn mower and snow blower… we also save $$.

Again, I realize this style of living isn’t for everyone. But it is a viable option.

Best to everyone in the pursuit of what works for you,

Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-25-2006, 03:54 PM   #18
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Modhatter--Scott Burns wrote several articles about park models after he ask his readers to send in their own stories of "Living Lite". You could look it up. In one article, he interviewed the owner of a chain of parks. IIRC it was Equity Life Style Properities because the Mesa neighborhood for the larger 1000 square foot models was just starting. Burns also interviewed a park resident (proud of her tiny, but lush back garden) in Mesa and had links to one that was for sale($6500) adjacent to that little garden.
The market for $40K park models is several magnitudes larger than for $200K retirement homes. The park models are probably selling so well, there is little need for advertising.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-26-2006, 12:47 PM   #19
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

This idea has really captured my interest, Akaisha. I probably get MORE interested the closer I get to the end of the Thanksgiving holiday, and the beginning of a new work week. :P

I've been working to get my mind around the idea -- move from California, sell the house, live in a small unit, live in ARIZONA, etc. etc. There are a lot of ponderables.

I wonder if the folks who live in these places, many of whom travel like yourself, ever rent them out for the short term? Or maybe the parks themselves have rentals? (I'm completely ignorant, here). If so, is there a mechanism (bulletin boards, newsletter, etc.) that allows them to do so? Is there some way that folks interested in renting for a short while could get in touch with them?

Folks like myself who telecommute, or those already retired, could pick up for a couple of months and give this type of living the scruff of the neck test before taking the leap o' faith. That would be a lot more educational than trying to jet out for a weekend, try to get a feel for a place, and jet back again.

Another way to go would be to buy one of those inexpensive $8,000 units, rent out the current house for a year to keep one's options open, and see how that works.

Are you aware of these or other tactics folks have used to test the waters? Thanks again!
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-26-2006, 01:35 PM   #20
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy



Martha:I do think it depends on where the place is located. My folks had a double wide in California they bought for about $40,000. When they died a decade later, we sold it (minus most contents as we had an estate sale) for $87,000.
Did your parents own or lease the land the double wide was sitting on? Sometimes land value escalates and more than overcomes the depreciation of the housing unit sitting on it.

We have friends with a mobile sitting on leased beautiful lake shore property in northern Wisconsin. In their park, 25 year old trailers in need of work sell for double what a brand new unit would sell for because the transferrable lease comes along with it!

But appreciation is the exception. Generally, mobiles, park models, even double wides, depreciate over time and that should be taken into consideration when planning. The low priced dpreciated examples you gave show this to be the case.
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